Galileo is a 1974 biographical film about the 17th century scientist Galileo Galilei, whose astronomical observations with the newly invented telescope led to a profound conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. The film is an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's play of the same name. The film was produced and released as part of the American Film Theatre, which adapted several plays for a subscription-driven series of films from 1973 to 1975. Brecht's play was recently called a "masterpiece" by veteran theater critic Michael Billington, as Martin Esslin had in 1960. The film's director, Joseph Losey, had also directed the first performances of the play in 1947 in the US - with Brecht's active participation. The film is fairly true to those first performances, and is thus of historical significance as well.